If India can extend a helping hand to Pakistan to curb the terror menace to bring in peace in the region then it should also realign sport ties especially cricket. The game of cricket has the largest fan following anywhere when India and Pakistan are facing each other. Ever since India’s defeat at the Champions Trophy in 2017 at the Oval both countries have not met on the greens. In fact the BCCI, when it was headed by Shashank Manohar, wanted to host Pakistan for a short series in 2016 but the plan could not be materialised owing to fraught relations between the two countries and the subsequent terror attacks on Indian soil. At that time Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had filed a compensation claim of $70 million against BCCI before the ICC for not honouring a bilateral cricket series agreement. Pakistan should have tapped all avenues of talks, discussions and back door diplomacy before going ahead with its compensation claim in the ICC. Even an old Pakistani hand as far as game management is concerned Ehsan Mani, who served as ICC President between 2003-2006, was on record to say that even if Pakistan won its compensation claim what guarantee is there India would agree to pay out the amount. Mani said even though there was a clause that said the Disputes Resolution Committee’s decision was binding on both parties and could not be challenged in any other forum, but when it came to money things often get ugly. India has not played a full bilateral Test series with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Although Pakistan had toured India in December 2012 for a short limited-over series, they failed to resume full ties cricket, including Tests. There is no denying the fact when India-Pakistan play at any venue it has the maximum crowd and collection. The tempo goes high and even the betting industry has the maximum returns. Politics apart games should be kept away from the ambit of rivalry and should be allowed to flourish in true sports-man spirit.
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